Civil and military helicopters have been deployed to provide disaster relief in Maui, Hawaii, after devastating wildfires claimed numerous lives and left hundreds of people missing. The US National Guard dispatched two Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopters to support wildfire response and search-and-recovery efforts. Other helicopters involved in the relief effort included a US Coast Guard Dolphin MH-65 helicopter, Blackhawk UH-60 aircraft, and US Navy MH-60R Seahawk helicopters.
In addition to these military helicopters, helicopter tour operators on the island have also been contributing to the relief efforts. Rainbow Helicopters, a tour company, has mobilized its Airbus Astar and Robinson R44 aircraft to provide vital supplies to the victims of the fires, with a specific emphasis on aid for mothers and babies. The company has initiated coordinated missions to airlift essential goods, such as baby formula, nappies, wipes, and other necessities, directly to the devastated seaside resort of Lahaina.
Rainbow Helicopters has transported over 200 containers of formula, 75 boxes of nappies, and 75 boxes of wipes to those in need. The company has also raised more than $50,000 through a GoFundMe campaign to support its relief efforts.
Various other private aviation businesses, including Castle and Cooke Aviation, have also contributed to the disaster relief program. Despite the emergency situation, the island’s airports in Kahului and Kapalua have remained open to support relief operations.
The efforts of these helicopters and aviation businesses have been commended by James A. Viola, the president and CEO of Helicopter Association International, who expressed gratitude to the crews for their tireless work in protecting lives and property in Hawaii.
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